2017 was the worst wildfire season on record in British Columbia. Thousands were displaced from their homes around the province, and tinder-dry conditions and harsh winds added to the fire risk.
Over the course of the summer, highways were closed, evacuation centres were set up, and thousands of fire personnel were deployed to fight the fires.
Equipment like helicopters, dozers and firetrucks all need fuel to run. People also need gas available in stations to aid in safe evacuation. As a major fuel supplier and operator of a distribution terminal in Central B.C., Suncor needed to ensure that fuel was available at our Kamloops Terminal for those in need. To ensure that fuel was reaching the required locations, Suncor set up an event management team that reviewed daily retail supplies and monitored upcoming issues.
“We worked to ensure that our Petro-Canada stations were meeting the needs of the evacuees and first responders,” said Pat Lizotte, general manager, retail sales and site operations. “This included replenishing our open sites on a more frequent basis, keeping our card lock locations in evacuated areas open to provide fuel to first responders and extending the hours of operations for stations along evacuation routes. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who went over and above to support the effort.”
The Kamloops Terminal is always very busy in the summer due to added tourism but this summer, the terminal saw fuel move in waves as the fires and weather conditions changed. To keep fuel available, workers at the terminal provided extra coverage and offloaded extra rail cars when required.
“This was a team effort; a lot of people at Suncor worked together to provide the province with an essential service, while keeping safety as our highest priority,” says Bill van Beek, manager, B.C. terminal operations.